Meg Reed has recently graduated with her degree in journalism from the University of Oregon. She’s living in Portland’s Pearl District, an upscale, trendy area with urban parks and beautiful shops that is very fun to walk in. Meg can’t afford to be there, but she’s crashing on her friend Jill’s couch and spending any disposable income on full-fat mochas and IPAs from Deschutes Brewing. One fateful rainy morning, she meets a Jon Hamm look alike and manages to fool her way into a job writing for Northwest Extreme, a magazine that covers extreme sports. Everyone else on staff practices what they write about, and Meg is constantly scrambling to pretend she loves hiking, biking, and otherwise taking advantage of the area’s natural bounty.
But when she’s assigned to cover the end of a continent-wide reality TV adventure show, she staggers up to the top of Angel’s Rest (a 2000-foot viewpoint over the Columbia River Gorge, a brutal hike that rewards the panting and red-faced hiker with incredible views), only to see a body flying off the cliff face just ahead of her. One of the contestants is dead, and Meg knows it was no accident. Can she keep herself out of trouble long enough to figure out whose was the hand who pushed him?
Scene of the Climb is an entertaining, light read. Meg’s an endearing character–a little clueless and bumbling, but good fun although sometimes I longed for her to have a little more common sense. She’s easy to relate to, a young adult struggling to find her feet after college, trying to eat healthy, visiting her mother and grandmother for advice and a good meal. Her friends have semi-starring roles too, especially Matt, who may or may not “like” her but who is definitely someone who is always there for her.
I have to admit that what really sold me on this book was the setting. I live in Portland and I know these places–I love the Pearl, Deschutes Brewing and hiking the Columbia River Gorge. Author Kate Dyer-Seeley does a good job of creating a real sense of place and people through detailed descriptions. This the first in a series, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Meg does next. It’s not deep or thought-provoking, but it’s an enjoyable, relaxing read.